I like reading about people living frugally. Not cheap where you live a mean existence, but living well below your means & then splurging sometimes for special things. I’m much more of a splurge than my husband is, but when it is apparent that a splurge is happening (like the other night at the sushi place) he can jump right in with the best of them.
A long time ago in the early 90s, I was working part time as office manager at a machine shop & my mom called & asked what I was doing. I replied that I was working on a budget to see how little I would have to work to meet my ends. I was always big on spend less = work less. Right now I’m slowly whittling my current job down to a part time gig.
Lower your cost of living wherever you are able. That car payment adds how much to your monthly expenses? I work in the most depressed area of my town & I see way more brand new, high-end luxury cars here than in the better parts of town. Every shack in this neighborhood has an Escalade parked in front. Granted, everyone here has their rent paid by the gubmint, food paid by the gubmint & daycare paid by the gubmint whilst working at their gubmint jobs, but still, how much does that cost per month?
The key is to have no debt. Pay everything off. Literally do not spend money on ANYTHING until you pay that debt off. Credit card debt is the worst; if you are unable to pay it off each month then quit using them altogether. First pay off your credit cards, then your car loans, then your school loans and then finally pay off your house (but only if you really want your house forever).
How much is your phone bill per month? How much do you spend on TV? How much is your weekly restaurant tally? How much of a car do you need? How much of a house do you need? If it is just you or the two of you, if you need a large house you have too much crap. That you bought on credit. On which you still carry a balance. On which you are paying interest. Next time you see some crap you want, just say NO.
Do not clip coupons. Coupons are for highly processed crap-in-a-box. Buy meat (you can buy cheap ground beef & make chili for practically nothing) buy a couple of potatoes & cook your own damn meal instead of eating the frozen/microwaved stuff they sell at all the chain restaurants. This will save you a bunch on doctor bills in the future, too.
I’m not advocating frugality for savings, though; I say be frugal so that you hardly have to go to work. If you can work 20 hours a week and live well then why not do so? Have a little extra in savings so that a financial disaster doesn’t destroy you, but saving for the future is useless in this unstable economy. Work less, spend less, live more.
A lot of the Baby Boomers think that they need to save more for retirement when what they really need to do is spend less. Like the Gubmint, instead of trying to increase revenue, try spending less. Hahahaha, just kidding, there would be riots in the streets if the gubmint quit handing out money and prizes to the entitled class!
I figure that if anything happened to my job & suddenly jobs requiring math & Excel spreadsheets disappeared, I could probably eke out an existence on as little as $10K – $15K per year. If I was able to manage a 20-hour-week job somewhere, I would be able to do that & go to the bar occasionally. It all depends on your priorities; you can work a lot for a lot of crap you don’t need or you can work a little & have a lot of extra time.
Granted, if you have kids, all bets are off. They require a lot of room & money, so reducing your expenses is not going to happen if you have kids.